[Trigger warning for violence against women in post and links.]
Some days your bad news rolls like water off my back. The wake leaves ripples, but I don’t still my steps long enough to notice or feel its chill. Chasing carrots and distractions, I’ll leave you to grieve alone and not look back.
I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.
But if I dim the inner monologue and lean in close, my own stomach drops. The rawness of your pain pricks my own eyes with tears. It’s not the same–yours is a load I’m free to pick up and set aside at will–but still my heart aches with yours.
I can only imagine what hell this must be for you. May I sit with you awhile?
There was a haunting profile in the Times this week about a teenager in Florida who murdered his girlfriend and the restorative justice their families sought. Days later I’m not sure precisely why I sobbed and shook and mourned this stranger like a friend.
Maybe it’s because she could have been. I have friends like Ann, and you might, too. Their stories aren’t ours to tell, but if we hold the sharp edges close we won’t forget.
Perhaps it’s because the Violence Against Women Act died in the House along with funding and protection for millions of sisters and daughters.
Maybe it’s because I’m soul sick at how these horrors are not isolated, repeating daily everywhere that women are still treated like property to own or control by force. Wherever violence and hierarchy are glorified, women and girls are among the most vulnerable to physical and sexual assault and other abuse. The past month alone bore witness to the vicious gang rapes and murders of women and girls in India, Ohio, Texas, Kansas City, Pakistan, and Pittsburgh.
Is it because I know that so many stories of gender-based and intimate partner violence are never spoken at all? God knows their names. He mourns their pain and loss, and so can I if I step outside myself long enough to remember the dark stories.
How long to sing this song, Lord, of innocence betrayed,
of love profaned by cruelty and fear that plagues the night?
How long ’til justice rolls like rivers and creation is redeemed,
’til you bind our wounds and free the captives like you vowed?
Have you forgotten? Has your Church?
Will we harbor blind indifference, breathing words of death or life?
Let the scales fall from our eyes. Weighed and wanting,
my hands are hate-stained, too.
To whom much is given is much required:
do justly, love mercy, walk humbly alongside.
Dress for action, light your lamps: the Kingdom of
heaven draws near with power. The sun of righteousness
rises, a new song in its wings. We’ll turn mourning
into dancing yet; be still with me awhile.
(I wrote this piece before I read Erika’s, and wow. Aslan may be on the move…)